Have Scientists Found the Diet That Cures Depression?

The DASH diet could be the best diet for depression.

Scientists are now suggesting that the right kind of diet could actually help ward off depression. A recently released abstract detailed the results of a study that tracked close to 1,000 elderly participants over the course of six and a half years. Of that group, those who followed the DASH diet — which focuses on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables — were less prone to depression than those who ate a more traditional Western diet, according to The Atlantic.

So DASH may be the best diet for depression, and it's pretty simple to follow; a typical dinner, for example, might pair a lean meat with a baked potato and plenty of vegetables. And while researchers are still working to determine why the style of eating is so beneficial, it could have something to do with the gut-brain connection.

As the thinking goes, people who stick to plant-heavy diets ingest more fiber. The fiber leads to more diverse gut bacteria, which creates chemicals that can influence mood. 

A similar study conducted in 2010 showed that women who ate a diet heavy in produce, meat, fish, and whole grains had a lower risk of anxiety and depression than others. And, since then, an analysis of 21 studies has shown that "a dietary pattern characterized by high intakes of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants and low intakes of animal foods was apparently associated with a decreased risk of depression.” 

Felice Jacka, a professor of nutritional psychiatry at Deakin University, said, "Given how many observational studies there are already published, the field does not really need more of these. What it needs now are interventions that show that if you improve diet, you also improve depression.” And that certainly seems worth a shot.

Any health-related information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, or before embarking on any diet, exercise, or wellness program.

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